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Portisham, Dorset

Historical Description

Portisham, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire, under Black Down, 2 miles NE of Abbotsbury, with a station on the G.W.R., 144 miles from London. There is a post and money order office under Dorchester; telegraph office, Abbotsbury. The parish contains also the hamlets of Coryatts, Shilvington, and Waddon. Acreage, 4511; population, 634. There is a parish council consisting of seven members and a chairman. The manor belongs to Earl Fitzhardinge. A cromlech, called Hell Stone, is on Ridge Hill; comprises nine upright stones about 3 feet broad and 6 high, and an oval horizontal one 10¼ feet long and about 2 thick; stands on a tumulus, with connecting terrace 60 feet long; and has been restored. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury; gross value, £300 with residence. The church is ancient but good, and has a pinnacled tower. There is a Methodist chapel, and a temperance hall was erected in 1882. Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, who served with Nelson, was a native.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDorsetshire 
DioceseBristol1542 - 1836
DioceseSalisbury1836 -
Ecclesiastical parishPortisham St. Peter 
Poor Law unionWeymouth1836 -
Registration districtWeymouth 
Registration sub-districtAbbotsbury 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1507. The original register books are now deposited with the Dorset Archives Service, but have been digitised by and made available on their site (subscription required).


Church of England

St. Peter (parish church)

The church of St. Peter is an ancient building of stone in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower containing a clock and 3 bells: the church was restored in 1874, and affords 430 sittings.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Portisham was in Weymouth Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Portisham from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Dorset is available to browse.


Online maps of Portisham are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Corfe Gate or Coryatts

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.